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TALK WITH SHEPHERDS.
they stood by the highway side. The pilgrims, therefore, went to them, and leaning upon their staves, (as is common with weary pilgrims when they stand to
talk with any by the way,) they asked,
“Whose Delectable Mountains are these? and whose be the sheep that feed upon them ?*
SHEP. These mountains are Emmanuel's Land, and they are within sight of his city; and the sheep also are his, and he laid down his life for them."
Chr. Is this the way to the Celestial City ?
SHEP. Too far for any but those that shall get thither indeed.t
Chr. Is the way safe or dangerous ?
SHEP. Safe for those for whom it is to be safe ; transgressors shall fall therein."
Chr. Is there in this place any relief for pilgrims that are weary and faint in the way ?
* See the ups and downs, the sunshine and clouds, the prosperity and adversity, which Christians go through in their way to the Promised Land. Lately, these two pilgrims were bewailing their state in Doubting Castle, under Giant Despair; now they are come to Delectable Mountains, where all is clear prospect and joyful hope. So that God's word is now comfortably fulfilled upon them, see Isa. xlix. 9–11. “ I will make all my mountains a way, and my high-ways shall be exalted," &c.
+ O how many professors grow weary of the way, fall short, and fail of coming to the end ! though the way be too far, too strait, and too narrow for many who set out, and never hold on to the end; yet all who are begotten by the word of grace, and born of the Spirit of truth, shall persevere unto the end, being kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto eternal salvation, 1 Pet. i. 5.
The elect shall obtain; the rest shall be blinded by sin and selfrighteousness, Rom. xi. 7. Look to yourselves, 2 John 8.
THE SHEPHERDS WELCOME THEM.
Shep. The Lord of these mountains hath given us a charge, “not to be forgetful to entertain strangers ;' therefore the good of the place is before you.
I saw also in my dream, that, when the Shepherds perceived that they were wayfaring men, they also put questions to them, (to which they made answer, as in other places,) as, Whence came you ? and, How got you into the way ? and, By what means have you so persevered therein ? for but few of them that begin to come hither do show their face on these mountains. But when the Shepherds heard their answers, being pleased therewith, they looked very lovingly upon them, and said, Welcome to the Delectable Mountains.
The Shepherds, I say, whose names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere,* took them by the hand, and had them to their SHEPHERDS. tents, and made them partake of that which was ready at present. They said, moreover, We would that you should stay here a while, to be acquainted with us, and yet more to solace yourselves with the good of these Delectable Mountains. Then they told them, that they were content to stay. And so they went to their rest that night, because it was very late.
Then I saw in my dream, that in the morning the Shepherds called up Christian and Hopeful to walk with them upon the mountains. So they went forth with them, and walked a while, having a pleasant prospect on every side. Then said the Shepherds one to another,
THE NAMES OF TUS
W Heb. xiii. 2.
* Precious names! what is a pilgrim without knowledge ? what is head - knowledge without heart-experience ? And watchfulness and sincerity ought to attend us at every step. When these graces are in us and abound, they make delectable mountains indeed.